City and Municipality
|Oaxaca de Juárez|
|• Municipal President|| Oswaldo García Jarquín |
|• City||85.48 km2 (33.00 sq mi)|
|1,555 m (5,102 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
|Postal code (of seat)|
|Website||Official site (in Spanish)|
|Official name||Historic Centre of Oaxaca and Archaeological Site of Monte Albán|
|Criteria||i, ii, iii, iv|
|Designated||1987 (11th session)|
|Region||Latin America and the Caribbean|
The city and municipality of Oaxaca de Juárez (Spanish pronunciation: [waˈxaka ðe ˈxwaɾes] ), or simply Oaxaca, is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of the same name. It is located in the Centro District in the Central Valleys region of the state, on the foothills of the Sierra Madre at the base of the Cerro del Fortín extending to the banks of the Atoyac River. The city relies heavily on tourism, which is based on its large number of colonial-era structures as well as the native Zapotec and Mixtec cultures and archeological sites. The city, together with the archeological site of Monte Albán, was named a World Heritage Site in 1987. It is also the home of the month-long cultural festival called the "Guelaguetza", which features Oaxacan dance from the seven regions, music and a beauty pageant for indigenous women.
Oaxaca, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Oaxaca, is one of the 31 states which, along with Mexico City, make up the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 570 municipalities, of which 418 are governed by the system of usos y costumbres with recognized local forms of self-governance. Its capital city is Oaxaca de Juárez.
The Atoyac River is a river in Oaxaca, Mexico. The Atoyac flows into the Rio Verde which empties into the Pacific near Laguna Chacahua, in Lagunas de Chacahua National Park, 90 km west of Puerto Escondido. The mountainous terrain of the region it occupies allows for no navigable rivers; instead, there are a large number of smaller ones, which often change name from area to area. The continental divide passes through the state, meaning that there is drainage towards both the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. Most of the drainage towards the Gulf is represented by the Papaloapan and Coatzacoalcos Rivers and their tributaries such as the Grande and Salado Rivers. Three rivers account for most of the water headed for the Pacific: the Mixteco River, Tehuantepec River, and the Atoyac, with their tributaries.
The Zapotec civilization was an indigenous pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca in Mesoamerica. Archaeological evidence shows that their culture goes back at least 2,500 years. The Zapotec left archaeological evidence at the ancient city of Monte Albán in the form of buildings, ball courts, magnificent tombs and grave goods including finely worked gold jewelry. Monte Albán was one of the first major cities in Mesoamerica and the center of a Zapotec state that dominated much of the territory that today belongs to the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
It is nicknamed "la Verde Antequera" (the green Antequera) due to its prior name (Nueva Antequera) and the variety of structures built from a native green stone.The name Oaxaca is derived from the Nahuatl name for the place, Huaxyacac, which was Hispanicized to Guajaca, later spelled Oaxaca. In 1872, "de Juárez" was added in honor of Benito Juárez, who was a native of this state. The coat of arms for the municipality bears the image of the decapitated Donaji, who was an indigenous princess in the years immediately after the Conquest.
Benito Pablo Juárez García was a Mexican lawyer and president of Mexico, of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca.
There had been Zapotec and Mixtec settlements in valley of Oaxaca for thousands of years, especially in connection with the important ancient centers of Monte Albán and Mitla, which are close to modern Oaxaca city.The Aztecs entered the valley in 1440 and named it "Huaxyacac", a Nahuatl phrase meaning "among the huaje" (Leucaena leucocephala) trees. A strategic military position was created here, at what is now called the Cerro (large hill) del Fortín to keep an eye on the Zapotec capital of Zaachila and secure the trade route between the Valley of Mexico, Tehuantepec and what is now Central America. When the Spanish arrived in 1521, the Zapotecs and the Mixtecs were involved in one of their many wars. Spanish conquest would end this fighting.
The Zapotecs are an indigenous people of Mexico. The population is concentrated in the southern state of Oaxaca, but Zapotec communities also exist in neighboring states. The present-day population is estimated at approximately 800,000 to 1,000,000 persons, many of whom are monolingual in one of the native Zapotec languages and dialects. In pre-Columbian times, the Zapotec civilization was one of the highly developed cultures of Mesoamerica, which, among other things, included a system of writing. Many people of Zapotec ancestry have emigrated to the United States over several decades, and they maintain their own social organizations in the Los Angeles and Central Valley areas of California.
The Mixtecs, or Mixtecos, are indigenous Mesoamerican peoples of Mexico inhabiting the region known as La Mixteca of Oaxaca and Puebla as well as the state of Guerrero's Región Montañas, and Región Costa Chica, which covers parts of the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Guerrero and Puebla.
Mitla is the second most important archeological site in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, and the most important of the Zapotec culture. The site is located 44 km from the city of Oaxaca. in the upper end of the Tlacolula Valley, one of the three that form the Central Valleys Region of the state. The archeological site is within the modern municipality of San Pablo Villa de Mitla. While Monte Albán was most important as the political center, Mitla was the main religious center. The name Mitla is derived from the Nahuatl name Mictlán, which was the place of the dead or underworld. Its Zapotec name is Lyobaa, which means “place of rest.” The name Mictlán was Hispanicized to Mitla by the Spanish. However, what makes Mitla unique among Mesoamerican sites is the elaborate and intricate mosaic fretwork and geometric designs that cover tombs, panels, friezes and even entire walls. These mosaics are made with small, finely cut and polished stone pieces which have been fitted together without the use of mortar. No other site in Mexico has this.
The first Spanish expedition to Oaxaca arrived late in 1521, headed by Captain Francisco de Orozco, and accompanied by 400 Aztecs.Hernán Cortés sent Francisco de Orozco to Oaxaca because Moctezuma II said that the Aztec's gold came from there. The Spanish expedition under Orozco set about building a Spanish city where the Aztec military post was at the base of the Cerro de Fortín. The first mass in Oaxaca was given by Chaplain Juan Díaz on the bank of the Atoyac River under a large huaje tree, where the Church of San Juan de Dios would be constructed later. This same chaplain added saints’ names to the surrounding villages in addition to keeping their Nahuatl names: Santa María Oaxaca, San Martín Mexicapan, San Juan Chapultepec, Santo Tomas Xochimilco, San Matías Jalatlaco, Santiago Tepeaca, etc. This group of Spaniards chose their first mayor, Gutierres de Badajoc, their first town council and began construction of the cathedral of Oaxaca in 1522. Their name for the settlement was Guajaca, a Hispanization of the Nahuatl name (which would later be respelled as Oaxaca).
DonHernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano, Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of what is now mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century. Cortés was part of the generation of Spanish colonizers who began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas.
Moctezuma II, variant spellings include Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma, Motēuczōmah, Muteczuma, and referred to in full by early Nahuatl texts as Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of Tenochtitlán, reigning from 1502 to 1520. The first contact between indigenous civilizations of Mesoamerica and Europeans took place during his reign, and he was killed during the initial stages of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, when conquistador Hernán Cortés and his men fought to take over the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan.
The establishment of the relatively independent village did not suit Hernán Cortes, who wanted power over the entire region for himself. Cortés sent Pedro de Alvarado, who proceeded to drive out most of the village's population. The original Spanish settlers appealed to the Spanish crown to recognize the village they founded, which it did in 1526, with land divided among the Spaniards of Orozco's expedition. However, this did not stop Cortés from driving out the population of the village once again and replacing the town council only three months after royal recognition. Once again, the original founders appealed to Spanish royal authority, this time to the viceroy in Mexico City, Nuño de Guzmán. This viceroy also sided with the original founders, and the town was refounded in 1529 as Antequera, in honor of Nuño de Guzmán's hometown. Francisco de Herrera convened the new, Crown-approved town council,and the first layout of the settlement was mapped out by Juan Peláez de Berrio.
Pedro de Alvarado y Contreras was a Spanish conquistador and governor of Guatemala. He participated in the conquest of Cuba, in Juan de Grijalva's exploration of the coasts of the Yucatán Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico, and in the conquest of Mexico led by Hernán Cortés. He is considered the conquistador of much of Central America, including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Although renowned for his skill as a soldier, Alvarado is known also for the cruelty of his treatment of native populations, and mass murders committed in the subjugation of the native peoples of Mexico.
Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán was a Spanish conquistador and colonial administrator in New Spain. He was the governor of the province of Pánuco from 1525 to 1533 and of Nueva Galicia from 1529 to 1534, President of the first Royal Audiencia of Mexico from 1528 to 1530. He founded several cities in Northwestern Mexico, including Guadalajara.
In the meantime, Cortés was able to obtain from the crown the title of the Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, which contains the disputed village. This permitted him to tax the area heavily, and to have control of the territory that surrounded the village. The village was then in a position of having to survive surrounded by villages which answered to Cortés. These villages not only did not take orders from Antequera, they were hostile to it, mostly likely encouraged by Cortés.
To counter this, the village petitioned the Crown to be elevated to the status of a city, which would give it certain rights, privileges and exceptions. It would also ensure that the settlement would remain under the direct control of the king, rather than that of Cortés. This petition was granted in 1532 by Charles V of Spain.
After the Independence of Mexico in 1821, the city became the seat of a municipality, and the name of both the city and the municipality became Oaxaca, changed from Antequera. In 1872, "de Juárez" was added to the city and municipality names to honor Benito Juárez, who began his legal and political career here.
The 2006 Oaxaca protests originated in 2005 when Oaxaca's new state governor Ulises Ruiz Ortíz ordered the assassination of 36 leaders and activists,[ citation needed ] banned political demonstration in the capital's main square and historic center, or Zocalo, and moved to make the Zocalo a modernized tourist attraction, turning the state legislature building into a museum. In summer 2005, Oaxaca's urban middle classes joined in protests against these decisions. In May 2006, the national teachers union staged their annual occupation of the Zocalo, a union negotiation tactic and local tradition performed every summer since 1989. After a year of protests and growing resistance to the new governor, 2006 saw significantly more occupants than usual.
Increases in wages and employment benefits were announced a short time later, but an internal conflict in the local teachers' union led to accusations that the bargaining had not really been in the teachers' best interest. On the night of June 14 the state police attacked and tear-gased the teachers sleeping in the Zocalo, only to bring more public outrage against Governor Ruiz and the ruling party. Many radical groups merged with the teachers' union to form the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO). This assembly defended the rights of several neighborhoods and organizations against government repression, in particular the "caravanas de la muerte" - death squads of government agents patrolling the city in police trucks. The assembly also closed government buildings, barricaded access roads to the city, and replaced the city's police force with the Honorable Cuerpo de Topiles, a civilian law force based on indigenous traditions of communal policing.In October over 10,000 paramilitaries were sent in by president Vicente Fox, resulting in the deaths of Indymedia journalist Bradley Roland Will, Roberto López Hernández and Jorge Alberto Beltrán. Through December, teacher's union leaders announced an end to their strike, while the APPO saw several leaders arrested, international accolades from grassroots groups and scholars, and continued clash with local and state government before removing all barricades and turning over control of the city .
Oaxaca has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate classification Aw), closely bordering on a subtropical highland climate (Cwa), due to its high altitude. During the dry season, temperatures during the day remain warm with an average high of 27.1 °C (80.8 °F) in the coolest month, December, and an average high of 33.3 °C (91.9 °F) in April, just before the beginning of the wet season. Although daytime temperatures are warm, nighttime temperatures are cool with an average low of 9 °C (48 °F) in January. Due to its altitude of 1,555 metres (5,102 ft), the climate of Oaxaca is cooler than lowland areas at the same latitude. Precipitation is concentrated in the summer months with June being the wettest with an average precipitation of 171 mm (6.7 in).
|Climate data for Oaxaca (1951–2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||38.5|
|Average high °C (°F)||27.6|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||18.3|
|Average low °C (°F)||9.0|
|Record low °C (°F)||0.5|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||3.6|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||1.0||1.3||2.3||5.7||10.5||17.2||16.9||16.5||17.2||7.6||2.3||0.9||99.4|
|Average relative humidity (%)||58||58||54||55||60||66||69||69||74||70||66||63||64|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||282||260||295||285||264||184||202||178||162||245||267||267||2,891|
|Source #1: Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (humidity 1981–2000)|
|Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (sun, 1961–1990)|
The 2006 Oaxaca protests had a severe negative impact on the city's main generator of revenue: tourism.The city is the primary attraction of the state, which also relies economically on tourism. From 1984 to 2009, tourism grew to become the dominant factor in Oaxaca's economy. 77% of the municipality of Oaxaca has employment that is related in some way to tourism. The attractions are the verdant landscapes of the Oaxaca Valley, and the architectural and cultural charms of the city itself. The next largest economic sectors are mining and manufacturing, which employ 20% of the work force.
The city centre was included in a World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO, in recognition of its treasure of historic buildings and monuments.Tourist activity peaks in three seasons: Holy Week, summer (especially during Guelaguetza) and New Year. Many of the tourists who come during Holy Week and for New Year come from other parts of Mexico and include native Oaxacans returning to visit from their places of work. Most international visitors come during the summer.
The Plaza de la Constitución, or Zócalo, was planned out in 1529 by Juan Peláez de Berrio. During the entire colonial period this plaza was never paved, nor had sidewalks, only a marble fountain that was placed here in 1739. This was removed in 1857 to put in the kiosk and trees were planted. In 1881, the vegetation here was rearranged and in 1885, a statue of Benito Juárez was added. It was remodeled again in 1901 and a new Art Nouveau kiosk installed. Fountains of green stone with capricious figures were installed in 1967.The kiosk in the center hosts the State Musical Band, La Marimba and other groups.
The plaza is surrounded by various portals. On the south side of the plaza are the Portales de Ex-Palacio de Gobierno, which was vacated by the government in 2005 and then reopened as a museum called "Museo del Palacio 'Espacio de Diversidad'" Other portals include the "Portal de Mercadores" on the eastern side, "Portal de Claverias" on the north side and the "Portal del Señor" on the west side.
The State Government Palace is located on the main square of Oaxaca City. This site used to be the Portal de la Alhóndiga (warehouse) and in front of the palace is the Benito Juárez Market. The original palace was inaugurated in 1728, on the wedding day of the prince and princess of Spain and Portugal. The architectural style was Gothic. The building currently on this site was begun in 1832, inaugurated in 1870 but was not completed until 1887. The inside contains murals reflecting Oaxaca's history from the pre-Hispanic era, the colonial era and post-Independence. Most of these were painted by Arturo García Bustos in the 1980s.
The Federal Palace is located across from the Cathedral and used to be the site of the old Archbishiop's Palace until 1902. Its architecture is "neo-Mixtec" reflecting the nationalism of the early 20th century and the reverence in which the Mixtec-Zapotec culture has been held in more recent times. The architectural elements copy a number of those from Mitla and Monte Albán.
Northwest of the Zócalo is the Alameda de León, a garden areathat is essentially an annex of the main square. In 1576, viceroy Martín Enríquez de Almanza set aside two city blocks on which to build the city government offices, but they were never built here. One of the blocks was sold and the other became a market. Antonio de León, governor of the state of Oaxaca, lived in front of this market and decided to turn it into a park in the 1840s, making it a small replica of the Alameda Central in Mexico City. In 1885, a statue of León was added.
The Macedonio Alcalá Tourist Corridor is a street paved with green cantera that was closed to traffic in 1985and is now only open to pedestrian traffic. Along the street are notable places such as the original building to house the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez. The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Museum of Contemporary Art) or MACO is located here as is the Plazuela (small plaza) Labastida and the Parroquia de la Preciosa Sangre de Cristo (Parish of the Precious Blood of Christ).
The Oaxaca Cathedral, also referred to as Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, is the third to be built as the first two were destroyed by large earthquakes in the 16th and 18th centuries.Construction of this third church began in 1702 and it was consecrated in 1733. Its facade is made of the green cantera stone commonly found in Oaxaca's buildings, and the interior is in Neoclassical style. The altar features a statue of Our Lady of the Assumption (Nuestra Señora de al Asunción) which was made in Italy during the Porfirio era, who is represented by a bronze sculpture brought from Europe and made by Tadoini.
The church and former monastery of Santo Domingo de Guzmán is located 4 blocks north of the Cathedral of Oaxaca. It was constructed between 1555 and 1666. It divides into two parts: the church and the former living/working areas of the monks. The front of the church is Renaissance-style, in the central relief, Saint Dominic and Hippolytus of Rome are holding up the church. After La Reforma around 1860, the church was converted into a stable, which caused serious deterioration of the building. It was returned to devotional use at the end of the 19th century. The living and working areas were converted into barracks and officers´ quarters. In 1994, work began to convert this area as the Centro Cultural Santo Domingo.
The Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad is located four blocks west of the Cathedral on Avenida Independencia. It is built between 1682 and 1697 by Father Fernando Méndez kg solid gold crown studded with diamonds – was the subject of a theft recently. Many years later, the cloister was converted into a correctional facility, a teacher's college and district attorney's office. Now it serves as the Municipal Palace. The building conserves a number of valuable items such as paintings, sculptures and religious vestments and a pipe organ dated 1686.on a site where supposedly an image of the Virgin Mary appeared inside a box. It is of Baroque style finished in 1690. Its front is made of a reddish stone sculpted to look like a folding screen. In the back of the church is the Museo de la Basilica de Nuestra Señora de La Soledad that exhibits the Virgin's dresses, offering and small painting done in her honor. The statue of the Virgin of Solitude, crowned with a 2
The Church and ex-monastery of Del Carmen Alto belonged to the Carmelites who established themselves here in 1696. The complex began as a hermitage built over the teocalli of Huaxyacac, although in the late 17th century, much of this space was occupied by a jail and barracks. The project was financed by Manuel Fernandez Fiallo.
Church and former monastery of St John of God (Templo y Exconvento de San Juan de Dios), Oaxaca's oldest church still standing, completed in 1703. This is where the first mass in Oaxaca was held in 1521.
Church of San Felipe Neri The Church of San Felipe Neri is considered a classic example of Baroque with estipite (inverted truncated pyramid) columns from the end of the 18th century, and has a large gilded main altarpiece. While the church overall is Baroque, the portal contains other decorative elements as well. Benito Juárez married Margarita Maza here in 1841.
Ex monastery of San Catalina was built in the second half of the 16th century by Dominican friar Hernando de Carvarcos, who also was responsible for the Santo Domingo de Guzmán monastery. In 1862, the monastery became a jail and at the end of the 19th century, the southern part became the Municipal Palace. Since 1976, it has been a hotel, called Hotel Camino Real.
Church of the Company of Jesus (Iglesia de la Compañia de Jesús), located to the southwest of the Zócalo, was built by the Jesuits in 1579 and consecrated to Francis Xavier and the Immaculate Conception.The towers were destroyed by a series of earthquakes and never rebuilt. Inside the chapel is a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe with a prayer written in Spanish, English, Náhuatl as well as 12 other languages native to the state of Oaxaca, including 4 dialects of Zapotec.
The Centro Cultural de Santo Domingo occupies the former monastery buildings attached to Santo Domingo church, and were restored in 1996 and considered to be one of the best restoration works in Latin America.Some important artifacts from Monte Albán are displayed here. In the center of the Centro Cultural, there is a courtyard with a fountain and a very large staircase. The passages along the courtyard have vaulted ceilings, cupolas and intricate corridors. Much of the Centro Cultural is occupied by the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca (Museum of Oaxacan Cultures), whose entrance is the one pilgrims used to use to enter the church area of the complex. This museum was placed in the Centro Cultural in 1964, after originally being in the Instituto de Ciencias y Artes, among other places. The museum specializes in Zapotec and Mixtec cultures, covering ten halls and one auditorium. In Sala III is displayed the "Tesoro Mixteco"(Mixtec Treasure) which is a collection of offerings that were discovered by archeologist Alfonso Caso in Tomb 7 of Monte Álban. These offerings include hundreds of pieces of jewelry made of gold and silver. They make up the richest collection of gold and silver smithing of ancient Mexico. Another important exhibit is the objects from Tomb 5 of Lambitieco, which dates back to 700 C. E and from Monte Albán. The museum has rooms dedicated to everyday items from the colonial period as well. The center also contains the Biblioteca Fray Francisco de Burgoa (Fray Francisco de Burgoa Library) which holds over 25,000 degrees that were conferred from the 15th to the 20th century from the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez in Oaxaca.
The Museum of Contemporary Art (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Oaxaca, MACO) is housed in the so-called Casa de Cortés. It is one of the oldest buildings in the city and one of the most representative of non-religious buildings.It dates from after the death of Hernán Cortés and could never have served as his house. Although it has been modified somewhat over the years, it still conserves its basic layout with rooms surrounding three courtyards. The architectural style is basically Andalucian modified by Oaxaca traditions. The facade has two levels, and the doors and windows have lintels, and are protected by wrought iron railings. To the far left of the facade, there are two arched entrances that permitted entrance of carriages to the third courtyard. The main portal is Spanish Baroque and has three levels. In the first, there are two "tritóstila" columns that support the balcony which has wrought iron railings. On the second level two Solomonic columns flanking a window. The jambs of the window are decorated with circles and the lintel with inverted curves. At the top of the window is seal of the Jesuits. The third level contains a central niche with a sculpture of an archangel as well as the coats of arms of the Laso de la Vega and the Pinelo families. This group is flanked by Solomonic columns. The house was acquired by the state of Oaxaca and initially housed the Museo Historico Urbano de Oaxaca in 1986. The museum was created with help from the state government, the José F. Gómez Foundation, painter Francisco Toledo and the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes. Its permanent collection contains works by Rufino Tamayo, Toledo, Nieto, Aquinos and others.
The Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños(Museum of Oaxacan Painters) is located north of the Alameda de León on Avenida Independencia in a former 18th century mansion. It is dedicated to local artists such as Rodolfo Morales whose work is on permanent display. The museum has also featured exhibitions by Felipe Morales, Rodolfo Nieto, Alejandro Santiago and Francisco Toledo.
The Casa de Culturas Oaxaqueñas used to the Church and ex monastery Los Siete Príncipes dating from the 18th century. The only part still used for religious purposes is the small chapel. The complex was restored in the 1960s and in 1970, the Casa opened.It houses the Instituto Oaxaqueño de la Culturas, which is a state government entity to promote culture and the arts.
The Rufino Tamayo Museum (Museo Arte Prehispánico de Rufino Tamayo) or Museo Rufino Tamayo, has an important collection of pre-Hispanic art that the painter himself collected. He donated the collection, as well as the house that is now the museum to his home state (Oaxaca) in 1974.This house, which was known as the Casa de Villanaza, was built in the 18th century. It first housed the State Museum Archives, before becoming what it is today. The museum exhibits over 1150 pieces from different Mesoamerican periods, including Mayan steles, ceramic dogs from Colima and stone faces from the Gulf of Mexico coast. The purpose of the museum is to show the aesthetic as well as the cultural value of these works.
The Religious Museum of the Ex monastery of La Soledad is located next to the Basilica of la Soledad. It contains objects such as paintings, sculptures and vestments. It is located in the southwest portion of the old monastery.
The Instituto de Artes Gráficos de Oaxaca (Graphic Arts Institute of Oaxaca) contains a large collection of graphic designs both present and past.
The Casa de Juárez, is a museum devoted to the life of Benito Juárez.It belonged to someone named Antonio Salanueva, but Juárez lived here from 1818 to 1828 after arriving to Oaxaca city from his hometown of Guelatao. It contains documents related to his presidency as well as furnishings designed to recreate the environment of that period. Its architecture is typical of homes built in this city in the 18th century and located on Garcia Vigil 609. It also contains ordinary artifacts from that time period, some of which belonged to Juárez.
Hemeroteca Publica de Oaxaca "Nestor Sánchez" (Nestor Sanchez Public Newspaper Library of Oaxaca) is located behind the ex-convent of Santo Domingo along with the Jardin Ethobotánico (Ethnobotanic Gardin) at the corner of Reforma and Constitución. These two occupy more than 2 hectares which used to be the gardens of the convent of Santa Domingo.
Teatro Macedonio Alcalá, which as well as being a working theatre houses a collection of romantic art.The Macedonio Alcalá Theater is a work typical for Porfirio Díaz period at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. It was first named the Luis Mier y Terán Theater, then Jesús Carranza. The current name dates back to 1932 to honor the composer of the state anthem "Dios Nunca Muere" (God Never Dies). The Macedonio Acalá Theatre is named after the author of the state anthem and was built between 1903 and 1909. The theatre has three parts, the vestibule, the main hall and the stage. The main entrance is on the corner. On the Armenta and Lopez Street sides, the lower level is occupied by shops, as well as the Miguel Cabrera Salon, which hosts art exhibits. The vestibule is Louis XV style with a white marble staircase and the main hall is in "Imperial" style, in which the anthropomorphic columns stand out.
Other cultural places of interest include the Alvarez Bravo Photography Center, the Oaxaca Stamp Museum, the Railway Museum of Southern Mexico (in the old train station) and the Planetarium located on the Cerro del Fortín.
Monte Albán is a pre-Hispanic city that was an ancient capital of the Zapotecs. It reached its peak between 500 BCE and 800 CE with about 35,000 inhabitants. Monte Albán is known for its architecture, its carved stones and its ceramic urns. In 1987, it was declared a World Heritage Site, along with the city of Oaxaca itself.
The Mercado (Market) Benito Juárez is located one block south of the Zócalo on Flores Magón and Las Casas but it takes up the entire block to 20 de Noviembre and Aldama streets. It offers flowers, fruit, ices, fruit drinks, handcrafts, leather goods, hats and knives, among other things.The block to the south houses the Mercado (Market) 20 de Noviembre which is the official name, but this market is commonly known as the "Mercado de la Comida (food)" because of the food stands that dominate the place. It is recommended by México Desconocido magazine for Oaxacan regional dishes such as moles, tasajo, tlayudas, pan de yema (a type of egg bread), chapulines (fried grasshoppers in chile), Oaxaca cheese (known locally as "quesillo"), queso fresco (lit. "fresh cheese"), as well as very large cups of hot chocolate made locally that is often spiced with cinnamon and almonds.
The city contains a number of parks, gardens and plazas, many of which were former monastery lands, for example, the Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca, surrounding the former monastery of Santo Domingo.Even better known is the Plaza de la Danza y Jardín Sócrates complex on Morelos Street at the foot of the Cerro del Fortín. It is part of the area bounded by the Basilica de la Soledad and the Church of San José. The Plaza de la Danza was constructed in 1959 by Eduardo Vasconcelos to hold the annual Bani-Stui-Gulal (representation of antiquity) dance, held one day before the festival of the Guelaguetza. The Plaza also hosts other cultural events including art shows, concerts and political rallies The Socrates Garden is the old atrium of the Basilica de la Soledad converted into a public park in 1881, conserved the bronze chalice which was also made in 1881. In 1981, the Garden was remodeled adding a new layer of stone to the floor. The Cerro de Fortín next to it bears in stone letters Benito Juárez's slogan, "El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz" (Respect for others' rights is peace). The Antonia Labastida Garden is named after a woman who fought with Porfirio Díaz during the French Intervention. This park has become a place for artists and artisans to display their wares.
The Guelaguetza, also known as the Fiestas de los Lunes del Cerro (Festivals of Mondays at the Hill) is the major cultural event in the city with origins in pre-Hispanic times. The "Hill" is the Cerro del Fortín, which was the scene of the annual rites to the goddess Centeótl, or goddess of the corn. The hill had a teocalli, or sacred plaza, built by the Aztecs. The ritual would end with the sacrifice of a young maiden chosen to represent the goddess.
This rite was prohibited by the Spanish after the Conquest, who also destroyed the teocalli. In its place, they constructed the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmen, now known as Carmen Alto. The recently baptized Mixtecs and Zapotecs then replaced ceremonies to Centeótl with those to this manifestation of the Virgin Mary, at the same place, the Cerro del Fortín.
This revised festival grew over time to be the largest and most anticipated for the town. In 1932, the city of Oaxaca realized its 400th anniversary and decided to combine these festivities with those of the Cerro del Fortín, adding traditional dances, music, regional cuisine and Margarita Santaella as the first Miss Oaxaca, in addition to the religious rites. The word "guelaguetza" is from Zapotec and means offering, sympathy, caring and cooperation. This first Guelaguetza was such a hit that organizers decided to repeat it every year at the Cerro del Fortin, on all the Mondays of July starting in 1953, becoming an amalgam of Oaxacan festivals from many parts of the state.
Originally, the festival took place at the foot of the Cerro del Fortín, where the curve of the land makes for a natural theatre. Since 1974, many of the events, which have grown in number, have been moved to a number of different venues, included the then-inaugurated Guelaguetza Auditorium. This is a Greek-style venue with seats 11,400 people.
One venue is the Church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán, where regional band come to play, dressed in colorful costumes as part of the opening ceremonies. They march from here to the Oaxaca Cathedral, where they are joined by folk dance groups such as the China Oaxaqueñas, the Chilenas de Pinotepa Nacional and the Jarabes Serranos. Another major event, which takes place at the Jardin Socrates, is a beauty pageant for indigenous women from different regions of Oaxaca state. The winner represents the goddess Centeótl and presides over the festivities along with public officials. The Bamo-Stui-Gulal takes place at the Plaza de la Danza and represents the history of Oaxaca and the Guelaguetza itself. The Plaza is divided into four quadrants, each representing a different period in Oaxaca's history. One other event, hosted in the Auditorium is a reenactment of the Legend of Donají, which takes place at the time of the Conquest. On the streets of Oaxaca city, there are parades with children and giant papier-mâché puppets.
The "Noche de Rábano" or Night of the Radishes is a Oaxaca city tradition. Artisans show off designs created from large radishes, often decorated with other plant materials. The event only lasts a few hours but draws most of the city's population to the main square to look at the creations. It occurs each year on 23 December.
The event developed from a Dominican Christmas tradition, when they would have a large dinner on the night of 23 December. To decorate the tables, indigenous servants of the monks would carve radishes and adorn them with flowers and other plants. This led 23 December to the known as the Night of the Radishes. This led to a special market on this day selling the radishes along with two other popular Christmas plant materials, the Flor Inmortal (immortal flower) and corn husks. This market has grown into a major cultural event and now is sponsored by the city, which packs the main square on that day. The day also includes a competition where radish creations are judged by originality, technical skill and beauty.
The story of Donají is that of a princess from pre-Hispanic Mitla. When she was born, a seer predicted that she would die for her country. When she grew up, her people, the Zapotecs, were involved in one of their many wars with the Mixtecs. One day, Zapotec warriors brought a prisoner, a Mixtec prince named Nucano, to Mitla. Taking pity on him, she took care of his wounds. When he healed, he asked her to let him go, which she did. The war continued with the Zapotec king and Donaji forced to abandon their capital of Zaachila. Peace negotiations were attempted but the Mixtecs did not trust the Zapotec king, taking Donají captive as insurance. This occurred during the Conquest, when the evangelization of the country had begun. Donají asked for baptism and was renamed Doña Juana de Cortés.
As feared, the Zapotecs broke the peace treaty, attacking Monte Albán as the Mixtecs slept. Donají was found in the Atoyac River, decapitated. Time passed. One day a Shepherd came to the place that Donaji was buried by the river. There was a fragrant lily flower growing. Fifteen days later, he returned to find the same flower, still fresh and fragrant in the same place as if a mysterious force was preserving it.Her severed head serves as part of the coat of arms of the city of Oaxaca and her story is reenacted every year at the Guelaguetza festival.
Every year in the fall, Oaxaca hosts the Oaxaca Film Fest.
The city of Oaxaca has long been considered "Mexico's culinary capital."The most notable aspect of Oaxacan cuisine is its variety of moles, a type of complex sauce. Their origins go back to the melding of Spanish and Arabic food in Spain. After the Conquest, New World ingredients such as chile mulato, 'miltomate' (a small whitish wild tomato), tomatoes, peanuts, avocado leaves, and chocolate were incorporated. While moles can be found in many parts of Mexico, Oaxaca has the greatest variety including negro (black), Colorado (red), coloradito (faint red), chichilo, verde (green), amarillo (yellow), and manchamanteles (lit. 'stainer of tablecloths'). They are sold in markets all over the city as a paste which is combined with water and simmered with a variety of meats.
Other notable foods sold in markets include bars of chocolate (primarily used for making hot chocolate), traditional breads, and chapulines (fried grasshoppers with chile). Street foods include tlayudas, which are large, slightly crispy corn tortillas piled high with ingredients such as grilled beef (called tasajo), cheese, tomatoes, avocados, onions etc. Local drinks include those made with water, sugar and a flavoring such as aguamiel (honey water), trocitos de melón (melon), horchata (rice), tuna batida (cactus fruit shake), and nuez (nuts) as well as local fruits such as chilacayota and guanábana. In nearby Tlacolula and Ejutla an indigenous drink called 'tejate' is still prepared and sold in the local market. Known here as the drink of the gods, it is prepared with corn, cacao, cacao flower and the seed of the mamey fruit. As for alcoholic beverages, this area prefers mezcal, which like tequila is made from agave, but unlike tequila can be made from a variety of different species of the plant.
As in other areas in Mexico, chocolate has had special importance here since long before the Conquest. Aside from being a foodstuff, it was also used as medicine and cacao seeds were used as money. The chocolate prepared in this city is well known within Mexico, as it is distinguished by being flavored with cinnamon, almonds and sugar and is usually prepared with hot water or milk. It is usually served in large coffee cups with a local sweet roll. The best-known producer of this type of chocolate is Chocolate El Mayordomo, which recently has opened outlets in various parts of Mexico, esp. in Mexico City. In their main store in Oaxaca City, you can see them prepare the various types of chocolates they prepare including a chocolate pasta.
In terms of institutions of higher education Oaxaca has several universities. Oaxaca is the site of the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca , which has buildings in various parts of the city. The most visible building is the Edificio Central de la Universidad (Central Building of the University), which is located in the historic downtown. It is in a building that originally housed the Sciences Institute. It was constructed between 1899 and 1901, in the European Romantic style that was popular for academic institutions at that time. However, indigenous touches, such as the cresting over the portal, can be seen as well. This building houses the Department of Law and Social Studies as well as the gymnasium.Additionally, the Universidad de Mesoamérica has locations in the city. The Universidad Anáhuac Oaxaca was opened in 2000.
Oaxaca-Xoxocotlan airport (IATA code OAX) is approximately 7 km south of the city centre. Most flights are to Mexico City for onward connection, but there are also flights to Huatulco, Cancún, Tuxtla Gutiérrez and Tijuana. In addition both American Airlines and United Airlines have nonstop flights between Oaxaca and their respective hubs in Dallas and Houston.
The city has separate first class and second class bus stations, offering services to most places within the state of Oaxaca, including the coastal resorts of Huatulco, Puerto Escondido, Puerto Ángel and Pinotepa Nacional, and also long-distance services to Puebla and Mexico City and other Mexican locations such as Veracruz. There are several bus lines which run in Oaxaca. The largest is TUSUG, a type of "cooperative" company. All of the drivers own their own buses and are aided by other drivers in purchasing new buses.
The major highways serving Oaxaca are Federal Highways 175 and 131, southwards to the Oaxacan coastal resorts; National Highways 190 and 125, southwest to Pinotepa Nacional; National Highways 190 and 130, to Mexico City; the autopista 150D/131D, offering a quicker route to Mexico City; and National Highway 175 north to the city of Veracruz.
A number of small towns surround the main city and are closely linked economically and culturally with the main city. Some of these towns are known for producing certain crafts that are identified with the three central valleys of Oaxaca. In these towns one can see the workshops and the crafts being produced in the traditional manner although most of these towns' products are sold in the main city. Santa María Atzompa produces glazed, glass-inlaid pottery of green, while San Antonio Arrazola and San Martín Tilcajete make alebrijes, small painted wooden figures. San Bartolo Coyotepec is known for its barro negro pottery, and Teotitlán del Valle works with wool to make tapestry and rugs. These rugs are known for their colors and geometric designs, made traditionally with natural dyes; a wild marigold, pericon, that grows in the nearby mountains gives a gold yellow, cochineal, a native insect, gives reds and indigo, raised in the hotter regions of the state gives blues. In addition, Oaxaca city and surrounding towns have market days, where one can visit the tianguis (open-air markets) set up for that day. There are markets on each day of the week. Monday in Miahuatlan is for buying daily staples, and Tuesday, in Ayoquezco is noted for wood furniture. On Wednesday, people head to Etla and Zimatlán for dairy products, especially cheese. Thursday is reserved for the two largest tianguis in Ejutla and Villa de Zaachila. On Friday, in Coyotepec, Jalietza and Ocotlán cotton textiles, embroidered blouses, corn-husk flowers and glazed pottery from Atzompa are sold. Saturday is reserved for the main city of Oaxaca, and to finish, on Sunday mezcal is sold in Tlacolula.
As the municipal seat, Oaxaca city has governmental jurisdiction over the following communities: Arbolada Ilusión, Camino a San Luis Beltrán, Camino Ancho, Casas del Sol, Colonia Buena Vista, El Bajío (Rancho Guadalupe Victoria), El Silencio, Entrada de el Silencio, Gloria Antonio Cruz, Guadalupe Victoria, Guadalupe Victoria Segunda Sección (La Mina), Lachigulera, Las Salinas (El Arco Grande), Loma Bonita, Lomas Panorámicas, Los Ángeles, Los Ángeles Uno, Miravalle, Paraje Caballetiyo, Paraje el Cerrito, Paraje el Pando, Paraje la Canoa, Paraje la Loma, Paraje la Mina, Paraje la Rabonera, Paraje Pio V (Ojito de Agua), Paraje Tierra Colorada, Pueblo Nuevo Parte Alta, Rancho el Chilar, Rancho los Girasoles, San Bernardo, Solidaridad, and Viguera The municipality has a total area of 85.48 km2and a population of 265,006, 97 percent of which lives in the city of Oaxaca While much of the indigenous population was either massacred or died from European diseases during the colonial era, sixteen different ethnic groups continue to inhabit the municipality. Spanish is the most commonly spoken language but according to the 2005 census, there were 20,109 people who spoke an indigenous language, representing between seven and eight percent of the population.
The municipality is bordered by San Pablo Etla, San Antonio de la Cal, Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán, San Andrés Huayapam, San Agustín Yatareni, Santa Lucía del Camino, Santa María Atzompa and San Jacinto Amilpas. Coordinates: near the geographic center of the state, and at an altitude of about 1550 m (5000 ft). The area is known as the three "Valles Centrales" (Central Valleys) region and is surrounded by thick forests of pine and holm oak.It is located in the Valley of Oaxaca in the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains, at
The Church and former monastery of Santo Domingo de Guzmán is a Baroque ecclesiastical building complex in Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico. The complex includes a substantial sanctuary and an extensive system of courtyards, cloisters and rooms that formerly constituted the monastery.
Juchitán de Zaragoza is an indigenous town in the southeast of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. It is part of the Juchitán District in the west of the Istmo de Tehuantepec region. With a 2005 census population of 74,714 inhabitants, it is the fourth-largest city in the state. The majority of the indigenous inhabitants are Zapotecs and Huaves. The town also serves as the municipal seat for the surrounding municipality, with which it shares a name. The municipality has an area of 414.64 km² and a population of 85,869, the state's third-largest in population.
Alfonso Caso y Andrade was an archaeologist who made important contributions to pre-Columbian studies in his native Mexico. Caso believed that the systematic study of ancient Mexican civilizations was an important way to understand Mexican cultural roots.
The Guelaguetza, or Los lunes del cerro, is an annual indigenous cultural event in Mexico that takes place in the city of Oaxaca, capital of the state of Oaxaca, as well as in nearby villages. The celebration centers around traditional costumed dancing in gender separated groups and includes parades complete with indigenous walking bands, native food, and statewide artisanal crafts such as Pre-Hispanic-style textiles. Each costume, or traje, and dance usually has a local indigenous historical and cultural meaning. Although the celebration is now an important tourist attraction, it also retains deep cultural importance for the peoples of the state and is important for the survival of these cultures.
The Sierra Madre de Oaxaca is a mountain range in southern Mexico. It is primarily in the state of Oaxaca, and extends north into the states of Puebla and Veracruz.
Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán is a small city and municipality located 5 km from the state capital of Oaxaca in the south of Mexico. It is part of the Centro District in the Valles Centrales region. The name comes from the Nahuatl word “xocotl” which means “sour or sweet and sour fruit” with the duplicative “xo” to indicate “very.” The meaning of the entire phrase means “among the very sour fruits.” The Mixtec name for the area was Nuunitatnohoyoo which mean “land of the moon-faced flowers.” However, the community is most commonly referred to simply as Xoxo.
The Central Valleys of Oaxaca, also simply known as the Oaxaca Valley, is a geographic region located within the modern-day state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. In an administrative context, it has been defined as comprising the districts of Etla, Centro, Zaachila, Zimatlán, Ocotlán, Tlacolula and Ejutla. The valley, which is located within the Sierra Madre Mountains, is shaped like a distorted and almost upside-down “Y,” with each of its arms bearing specific names: the northwestern Etla arm, the central southern Valle Grande, and the Tlacolula arm to the east. The Oaxaca Valley was home to the Zapotec civilization, one of the earliest complex societies in Mesoamerica, and the later Mixtec culture. A number of important and well-known archaeological sites are found in the Oaxaca Valley, including Monte Alban, Mitla, San José Mogote and Yagul. Today, the capital of the state, Oaxaca City, is located in the central portion of the valley.
Zaachila was a powerful Mesoamerican city in what is now Oaxaca, Mexico, 6 km (3.7 mi) from the city of Oaxaca. The city is named after Zaachila Yoo, the Zapotec ruler, in the late 14th and early 15th century. Zaachila was home of Donaji- the last Zapotec princess. Zaachila is now an archaeological site. A large unexplored pyramid mound is in the center in which two tombs were discovered in 1962. These tombs are thought to belong to important Mixtec persons.
Cuilapan de Guerrero is a town and municipality located in the central valley region of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. It is 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the south of the capital city of Oaxaca on the road leading to Villa de Zaachila, and is in the Centro District in the Valles Centrales region.
The Benito Juárez Autonomous University of Oaxaca is a public university located in the city of Oaxaca de Juárez in state of Oaxaca, Mexico.
San Bartolo Coyotepec is a town and municipality located in the center of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. It is in the Centro District of the Valles Centrales region about fifteen km south of the capital of Oaxaca.
Villa de Zaachila is a town and municipality in Oaxaca, Mexico, six km from the city of Oaxaca. It is part of the Zaachila District in the west of the Valles Centrales Region. In the pre-Hispanic era, it was the main city-state for the Valley of Oaxaca after the fall of Monte Albán, and the Zaachila Zapotecs were the prominent political force for much of the Valley of Oaxaca when the Spanish arrived. Since then, it has been mostly quiet, but political unrest has been prominent since 2006 and the municipality has two parallel governments.
Teotitlán del Valle is a small village and municipality located in the Tlacolula District in the east of the Valles Centrales Region, 31 km from the city of Oaxaca in the foothills of the Sierra Juárez mountains. It is part of the Tlacolula Valley district. It is known for its textiles, especially rugs, which are woven on hand-operated looms, from wool obtained from local sheep and dyed mainly with local, natural dyes. They combine historical Zapotec designs with contemporary designs such as reproductions of famous artists' work. Artists take commissions and participate in tours of family-owned workshops. The name Teotitlán comes from Nahuatl and means "land of the gods." Its Zapotec name is Xaguixe, which means "at the foot of the mountain." Established in 1465, it was one of the first villages founded by Zapotec peoples in this area and retains its Zapotec culture and language.
Cerro de la Minas is an archaeological site located in the modern state of Oaxaca, just to the north of the city of Huajuapan de León. The site belongs to what is called the Ñuiñe, or lowland/hot lands Mixtec cultural area. The site is located on a hill that dominates the Valley of Huajuapan, in what are now the neighborhoods of Chapultepec, Santa Rosa, Alta Vista and Del Maestro of the city. This large hill is in a strategic position over the farmlands of the valley, which provided it with its food, as well as the trade routes that cross this valley, which made it regionally important. The site contains a number of settlements and was reserved for the elite of that area during that time. Cerro de las Minas is the only lowland Mixtec archeological site open to the public.
The Indigenous people of Oaxaca are descendants of the inhabitants of what is now the state of Oaxaca, Mexico who were present before the Spanish invasion. Several cultures flourished in the ancient region of Oaxaca from as far back as 2000 BC, of whom the Zapotecs and Mixtecs were perhaps the most advanced, with complex social organization and sophisticated arts.
According to the Mexican government agency Conapo, Oaxaca is the third most economically marginalized states in Mexico. The state has 3.3% of the population but produces only 1.5% of the GNP. The main reason for this is the lack of infrastructure and education, especially in the interior of the state outside of the capital. Eighty percent of the state’s municipalities do not meet federal minimums for housing and education. Most development projects are planned for the capital and the surrounding area. Little has been planned for the very rural areas and the state lacks the resources to implement them. The largest sector of Oaxaca’s economy is agriculture, mostly done communally in ejidos or similar arrangements. About 31% of the population is employed in agriculture, about 50% in commerce and services and 22% in industry. The commerce sector dominates the gross domestic product at 65.4%, followed by industry/mining at 18.9% and agriculture at 15.7%.
In the Central Valley region of the Southern Mexican state of Oaxaca archeologists discovered evidence of historic settlements. Aztecs from Tenochtitlan on the volcanic plateau to the North around what today is Mexico City first arrived in this region around 1250 AD establishing military rule in the 15th century until the arrival of the Spanish. After the fall of Tenochtitlan, the Spanish took over Oaxaca which led to the eventual decrease of the Native population and the increase in African slaves. The region was then settled by mostly Spanish immigrants from Europe and the African slaves they brought with them. Oaxaca was considered a department after the Mexican War of Independence, but after the fall of emperor Agustín de Iturbide, it became a state in 1824 with José Murguia as its first governor. During the 19th century, Oaxaca was split between liberal and conservative factions. The political and military struggles between the factions resulted in wars and intrigues. A series of major disasters occurred in the state from the 1920s to the 1940s. In the 1940s and 1950s, new infrastructure projects were begun. From the 1980s to the present, there has been much development of the tourism industry in the state.
Azteca de Gyves is a Mexican artist from Juchitán de Zaragoza in the state of Oaxaca. She is of Zapotec heritage and one of only two prominent female artists in her city. She has been a member of the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana since 1998 and has exhibited her work individually and collectively in Mexico, Brazil, the United States, Japan and other countries.
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